Buying diamonds online has never been easier. Once upon a time, consumers were limited to the small and limited diamond selection offered by their local jewelry store, entrusting a single person to help them make one of the biggest (and most significant) purchases of their life. But luckily for you, times have changed.
Today thanks to the power of the internet, consumers have 24/7 access to an unlimited selection of diamonds that can be purchased and shipped to their doorstep in a matter of clicks! Yet while it’s safe to say most of us are comfortable buying clothes or housewares online, buying a diamond online (for most) is still an intimidating and often risky task.
Whether you’re in the market for a lab-created diamond, mined diamond, recycled diamond, or even a diamond simulant, the following 7 online diamond buying tips will help you shop diamonds online with confidence.
Tips To Buying Diamonds Online
Diamond Education & Research:
Before commencing your diamond search, the first step is to educate yourself on the features and qualities of a diamond, most specifically the 4Cs (cut, color, clarity, and carat weight). Having a basic understanding will help you decide which diamond qualities are most important to you, and along with your budget, will ultimately guide you in your purchasing decision.
Company Education & Research: While diamond research and education is an important first step, company research and education is equally as important. Before purchasing from any “old” online retailer, be sure to do your homework. Here’s a quick list of questions we’d want answered before making a final decision:
- How long has the company been in business?
- Where is the business located and do they have a physical store or showroom to view product in person?
- What do customers have to say about their experience with the company?
- Do they have multiple ways to be contacted for customer inquiries and support?
Aside from being sure the company is reputable, you’ll also want to ensure that (1) there’s an easy-to-follow return policy in place, or a home-try on program that’ll allow you to try before you buy, (2) the company does not charge restocking fees for returned items, and (3) the company offers fully insured complimentary shipping. Note: shipping high-value items requires the use of a reliable courier service, so be sure to check your items will be sent signature required and insured for the full value of its contents.
Transparency & Grading:
When searching for a diamond it is paramount that the retailer has given you all the information you need to make the most educated purchase. It is also important to note that often an “actual” photo of the diamond your viewing may not be presented for your perusal. This is actually very common with many retailers and not something to be concerned about, but important to know.
The 4C’s should be listed in the description and/or a copy of the grading certification should be available for you to view. Any diamond shown with a range in color or clarity, or without a grading certificate (an unbiased analysis of the diamond’s 4Cs) from a reputable grading company like the GIA, IGI, EGL, etc., should be a red flag. A diamond’s value is determined by its quality, so without third-party assessment of the 4Cs there’s no way to guarantee you're getting what you paid for.
Customer service is always important, but even more so when making a high value, emotionally intensive purchase online. Ultimately the company you decide to purchase from should offer more than one way to get in touch with them, such as a phone number, email, contact form or live chat option. If they have a showroom, that is even better. If you have questions or need help deciding, working with a company that has a helpful and knowledgeable diamond expert or personal shopper on staff, who promptly returns calls or emails within 24 business hours is ideal.
Technology and Origin:
We encourage you to ask where the diamond was mined or where the diamond was grown. Where your diamond comes from will not necessarily affect the monetary value, but does have an effect on the intrinsic value as not every diamond is equal when taking into consideration human rights and environmental impact. With advancements in technology, it is important that you know exactly what you are buying. If you are in the market for a lab-created diamond, you’ll find added value working with a company who’s at the forefront of this technology, and if you are looking for a mined or recycled diamond, it is important to find out if the diamond has undergone any appearance altering treatments.
Every online retailer will have their own payment options and most accept major credit cards and/or PayPal payments. Purchasing with your credit card or via PayPal is typically a safe and secure way for you to purchase online. Never send cash in exchange for your purchase. It is also important that you understand the digital security measures put in place by the company you are purchasing from. Be sure your purchases are protected by Secure Socket Layering (SSL), the industry-standard encryption technology that ensures safe internet transmission of your personal information.
Added Value and Differentiators:
Differentiating a business online has become increasingly difficult with new retailers popping-up daily. Aside from researching the company’s reputation, ethics, and policies, you should consider their value-added programs or differentiators. For example, does the company offer finished jewelry, as purchasing your ring and diamond from the same retailer can make future maintenance easier. Does the company offer a warranty program, or do they have an upgrade or trade-in policy? These are just a few examples of value-added services you should consider when making your purchase decision.